By Kim Rossi
Please join me in wishing my daughter Miss G a very happy 21st birthday! 7-11 is a lucky number in slot machines, isn't it? Or is that roulette? Or craps? Ha ha - autism joke - craps!
G has come so far in her development over the years. She is funny, happy, bright, attentive and yes, still very, very much affected (and hindered) by her autism. That said, I am proud of her every single day.
Because she is a July birthday girl, she has one more year in the school district before she "ages out" into adult programming.
I used to be terrified of birthdays. Every "big one" made me so sad. Now that I already have a 21 year old (M is 22) and all three girls have crossed sweet 16, I find myself less crushed on their birthdays and able to celebrate in their unique way. This is a survival tactic for me. I need to live and laugh and enjoy the girls, even as I fight to bring them forward within and maybe in some ways withOUT of their autism.
I accept and adore my girls exactly where they are today. I don't love autism. I never have and I never will. Make no mistake - if I had a magic wand I would consider using a certain unforgivable curse on it! (That's for you Harry Potter fans.) It will always be important to me to tell the world about the realities of having a child with autism - whether 1, 11 or 21 or 51.
We're having cake and ice cream and maybe a drop of Prosecco Italian sparkling wine. Let's toast Gianna and all of her peers who are turning 21 this year.
Happy birthday, Miss G.
By Kim Rossi